2001: Chevrolet Corvette Z06
“So it finally comes to this happy conclusion a mere forty-eight years after the initial flame (blue, of course) was lit: The Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is, at long last, a real, 100 percent, no excuses, no explanations, no footnotes American sports car, one that can hold its own with just about anything on the road, even if that anything comes from Zuffenhausen or Maranello, at a price that no other company in the world – not even the one from Hamtramck – can approach, let alone match. How could it not be our 2001 Automobile of the Year?
“There’s more power, of course: 35 strong horses added to the stable to bring the honest net power rating up to 385 horsepower at 6000 rpm, and that power is put to the ground through more rubber via a revised six-speed gearbox that gets you off the line harder and faster than before. The other five gears are better spaced, all but the direct 1:1 fourth being lower than before. And, let it be noted, the all-new LS6 engine is so clean that the car qualifies as a low-emissions vehicle. Oh, yes, and it gets 19 mpg in town and 28 on the highway, EPA certified. And it gets to 60 mph in four – four-point-zero – second. Easily.
“Forthcoming exotic supercars, the McLaren-Mercedes SLR, the Porsche Carrera GT, et al., may move performance benchmarks but at prices that would let you buy a Z06 in every color and still have money left over to pay for the insurance. IN terms of value for money and raw performance, you really can’t do any better than this extremely well-focused design, and in terms of the cars available on the U.S. market, we could not find a better Automobile of the Year.”